John McCain’s campaign distanced itself Saturday from a supporter who told an Iowa newspaper that terrorists would be “dancing in the streets” if Barack Obama is elected president.
Iowa Rep. Steve King made the remarks to the Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa, basing his prediction on Obama’s pledge to pull troops out of Iraq, his Kenyan heritage and his middle name, Hussein. Obama’s campaign immediately called on McCain to denounce the remarks.
McCain traveling press secretary Brooke Buchanan told FOX News that King has no affiliation with the campaign.
“The Senator has been clear that he intends to keep this campaign about the issues. He has condemned similar comments by (radio talk show host) Bill Cunningham. He doesn’t agree with King’s comments,” Buchanan said. “He intends to run a respectful race and keep it about the issues.”
The Arizona senator recently chided Cunningham after the Cincinnati talk show host referred to Obama three times as “Barack Hussein Obama” while introducing McCain.
“These comments have no place in our politics,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said earlier, before McCain’s campaign responded to King.
King told the Daily Reporter that his comments were not meant to demean Obama but to warn how an Obama presidency would look to the world.
“The radical Islamists, the Al Qaeda … would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror,” King said.
“His middle name does matter,” King said. “It matters because they read a meaning into that.”
The Illinois senator, born in Hawaii to a white Kansas woman and a Kenyan man, is a Christian and has said he has little connection to the Islamic religion, though he acknowledges he spent part of his childhood in largely Muslim Indonesia.
Obama also had to distance himself Friday from comments made by his foreign policy adviser Samantha Power. Power described Hillary Clinton as a “monster” during an interview with a Scottish newspaper, but resigned after the interview was published.
FOX News’ Mosheh Oinounou and The Associated Press contributed to this report.